Sufficiency, Sustainability, and Innovation Media Moonshot

Sufficiency, Sustainability, and Innovation Media Moonshot

Peter Titcomb Knight
DOI: 10.4018/ijsesd.2020040105
(Individual Articles)
No Current Special Offers


This article introduces the role of innovation and exponential technologies to eliminate shortfalls in access to basic needs at a global level while achieving sustainability in four dimensions: economic, social, political and ecological. Next the article reviews the literature concerning the role of films and TV programs on influencing public opinion and producing changes in economic, social, and political outcomes. Several films and TV programs that have achieved this are presented, with documentation of their successes. Then a “media moonshot” is proposed to help develop support for public policies to accelerate progress toward sufficiency and sustainability through innovation. This would be achieved by helping finance a tenfold increase in production of films and TV programs in this field. Various fiction and non-fiction formats would be used. The goal proposed is to reach an audience of at least one billion people with measurable impacts on public opinion and government policies. Several examples of possible films and TV programs are presented.
Article Preview


Perhaps the greatest challenge humankind faces is to meet the basic needs all people on Earth in a way that is sustainable − in four dimensions: economic, social, political, and ecological. Another way to describe this challenge is: how can shortfalls in access to basic needs be eliminated while staying within the safe and just space for humanity – that is within ecological planetary boundaries (Daly, 2015; Raworth, 2017). A growing number of analysts argue that some planetary boundaries are already being breached (Scripts Institution of Oceanography, 2015), and an estimated 736 million people, or 10 percent of the world’s population, still lived in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 a day) in 2015 (World Bank Group, 2018).

Current economic trends, driven by technology − including robotics, information technology, and artificial intelligence − increasingly threaten employment and social stability. Accelerating biotechnology and nanotechnology also pose political and ethical challenges. These trends are resulting in a move toward populist and authoritarian political systems to maintain or increase an unjust distribution of income and wealth, working against economic, social, political, and ecological sustainability. New public policies, including universal/unconditional basic income (UBI) as a human right and new forms of taxation to support it, are already needed. The urgency to implement such policies and will increase sharply as exponential technological change proceeds. Institutional development has lagged behind the accelerating pace of economic change led by exponential technologies. These technologies are powered by computing power that evolves at rates governed by Moore’s Law, namely that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years, with a corresponding increase in computing power and fall in its cost. Examples are robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and biotechnology.

A massive change in public opinion and policies is needed at the global level to leverage technological change to meet the sufficiency and sustainability challenge. Films and television programs in various formats can help build public awareness and shape needed public policies.

The size of film and TV markets is impressive. According to UNESCO, in 2015 almost 10,000 feature films were produced in 93 countries (retrieved February 21, 2019, from

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Volume 15: 1 Issue (2024)
Volume 14: 1 Issue (2023)
Volume 13: 9 Issues (2022)
Volume 12: 4 Issues (2021)
Volume 11: 4 Issues (2020)
Volume 10: 4 Issues (2019)
Volume 9: 4 Issues (2018)
Volume 8: 4 Issues (2017)
Volume 7: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 6: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 5: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (2011)
Volume 1: 4 Issues (2010)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing